The other Saturday morning in Alameda, I was waiting for the Main Library to open. Looking around, I was delighted to see the happy faces of toddlers gathering at the front entrance to attend the Mother Goose Storytime event in the Chilren's Section of the library. The parents were chatting among themselves, and recognizing each other from other events. Once the door opened, they were in in a rush, and heading in for the fun.
After I got my books, I looked around this "new" (2006) library with amazement. It had truly become a new "Civic Center". I reflected that while the children are downstairs, students are often sitting in front of the many computers researching school projects, and sit side by side with older seniors who are downloading recipes, writing friends or checking the latest news.
Over the last few years, there has been an impressive growth of new mult-service libraries in the Bay Area. As in Alameda, Livermore and Dublin have two buildings that invite and entertain its citizens. They are light and airy. No longer dusty and dreary, they further tempt visits with book clubs, coffee shops, computer classes and lectures.
If there was ever any question about the funding of this libary before it was built, what it has become should convince skeptics of its worth.